Bethel Series Pilgrimage to the Holy Land – February 22 – March 3, 2019

Join Reverend Jeff Quinto, Bethel Series Executive Director, and his wife Toni on ten life-changing days in the Holy Land, February 22 – March 3, 2019, on the 2nd Annual Bethel Series Pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

You will visit: Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Jericho, Nazareth and Sea of Galilee

You will:  Walk where Jesus walked.  You will swim in the Dead Sea. You will dance on a fishing boat on the Sea of Galilee.You will pray at the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus prayed for God to “let this cup pass from me, . . . .”

Twenty-five faith-filled believers like you will see the Scriptures and their Bethel Series lessons come alive.  Download brochure:

The cost of the trip, inclusive of airfare from either New York or Chicago, is $3,590 based on double occupancy.  Breakfast and dinner each day in the Holy Land are included.

As this is a limited opportunity at an excellent price, we expect to fill the twenty-five spots quickly.

If you are interested in joining us, call the Bethel Series office at Bethel Lutheran Church 608-579-5700.

“The Realities of Incarceration Part 2:  “Incarceration and Sacred Space”

July 29, 2018 from 4:00 – 6:00 PM
New Life Church – 7564 Cottage Grove Road -Madison

Panel Discussion Led by Former Jail Chaplain, Rev. Christa Fisher

Please join us for  Part Two of Our Series on Our State Incarceration System:”Incarceration and Sacred Space” – an interfaith conversation about sacred space within a fortress of fear.  How are individuals and community formed or deformed by sacred space – a place for worship, learning, healing, beauty, and sanctuary? These and other questions will be addressed by a panel of people with direct worship experience within the Dane County Jail. Plans for the new jail do not include a designated multi-faith sacred space.  Come learn why the blue print must be amended and how you can help make this happen.  It is vital and urgent that you attend this event and bring at least one friend if not your whole congregation.  A prize will be presented to the person with the most guests!  It’s that important!


Welcome Home!

It is hard to believe that the 2018 ELCA Youth Gathering is now history. The memories of the week, however, will last a lifetime for the youth that you accompanied on the journey. The 724 youth and adults from our synod joined the 31,242 registered participants in Houston for an amazing week. I pray that the experience was uplifting and inspirational for your group and that your homecomings have been joyful.

As we close out the 2018 Gathering I invite you to stay connected. Over the next weeks the Gathering will continue to upload videos from the week to the ELCA YouTube channel HERE. Wondering about the impact of the 2018 ELCA Youth Gathering?

So, what’s next? Planning for the 2021 ELCA Youth Gathering being held in Minneapolis has already begun and will continue over the next year as a theme is developed and planning teams are assembled. Continue to follow the Gathering Facebook page HERE along with our synod website HERE for all the details beginning in 2019.

It has been an honor to walk alongside each one of you for the past two years prior to and in Houston this past week. I continually pray for each of you and your ministries in the future. Thank you once again for your leadership and for making the ELCA Youth Gathering a part of your summer plans.

And always remember, “There’s Grace For That!” 🙂

In Christ-

Jason Xiong
Synod Coordinator – 2018 ELCA Youth Gathering
South-Central Synod of Wisconsin

Farewell from Bishop Mary Froiland

Dear Colleagues,

It has been an honor to serve among you as your Bishop. As I walk through this time of transition, I am experiencing a multitude of emotions. I am grateful for your friendship and I am sad to be leaving the Synod John and I have lived and served in for almost 30 years.

I move on with deep appreciation for the Synod staff, the colleagues I have worked with over the last 5 years. They are good, faithful people, every one of them, committed to this good gospel work.

I leave with a sense of accomplishment in some things and a sense of things left undone in others. Most of all, I am excited and hopeful for what God’s future holds, both for me and John personally as we move into our next ministries closer to family, and for the South-Central Synod of Wisconsin under the very competent and visionary leadership of Bishop Viviane Thomas-Breitfeld.

I am very excited to begin my next call. The good people of St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in North St. Paul, Minnesota, have done me the great honor of calling me to be their next Lead Pastor. I will join Pastor Ivy Huston and many other folks on staff and in the congregation in embracing our call to be the heart and hands of Jesus.  If you are ever up in the Twin Cities area, stop in and worship with us – or just drop by for a cup of coffee. The address is 2499 Helen Street, North St. Paul, MN 55109. It would be good to see you.

I will miss you. It has been my greatest joy to get to know you and your congregations better over the last 5 years. It has been so good to see so many people living together in families of faith, making an impact in our communities and the world for the love of Jesus and the sake of the gospel. Christ’s Church stands as an example of what this world can be, a model of the holy community God dreams. Continue to live in that dream.

God’s peace,

Bishop Mary


By your hands, may love be shared
By your voice, may peace be spoken.
By your eyes, may beauty be seen.
By your ears, may truth be heard.
By your life, may the song of Christ be sung!


St. Luke’s Church of Rome (Sullivan) Wisconsin has developed an interesting way of spreading the Gospel. In the past two years they have made, prayed over and given away 3700 wooden crosses with the simple but powerful truth that: “JESUS IS LORD” painted on them. A message that ALL Christians share and a message to welcome people to the faith. They are made of cedar picket material, stand about 40” tall and are designed to be put on a lawn, in a flower bed, at a grave site or any special place.  Our goal is to produce 3000 crosses for the summer of 2018 and to promote this ministry throughout the Synod, the state of Wisconsin and wherever God wants them.

There are three ways you can take an active part in this ministry.

1) Begin to make and distribute crosses as your own outreach ministry (We can help you get started).
2) Become a distribution point for crosses made by St. Luke’s.
3) Support this ministry by spreading the word through social media.

For more information on how to get involved with this ministry please contact Robert and Nancy Stephan W 1566 Stephan Lane, Sullivan WI 53178, (262) 490-4624

Faith Lutheran featured in article in the Janesville Gazette

Pastor Felix Malpica and Music Director, Cherie Norquay, of Faith Lutheran, make the Janesville Gazette – Sunday, June 3           

Pastor Felix Uses World Music to Build Community

Maybe you heard their sweet voices on a spring morning.  Late last month, Pastor Felix Malpica led pre-school children from the chapel into the parking lot at Janesville’s Faith Lutheran Church.  There, they joyously sang “so the whole neighborhood could hear us,” the pastor explained.

It’s no secret that people of God sing.  But Pastor Felix, as he is affectionately called by church members, is someone with exceptional musical talent…”

For the rest of the story:

 Hmmmm…Your Congregation Probably Has a Story to Tell That Is Newsworthy!  Invite Your Local Paper to Help You Tell It!

Suggestion For Congregational Newsletters as It Relates to Bishop Mary’s Next Call

(from Your Synod Communicator, Deacon Vicki Hanrahan)

The ELCA Churchwide office issued a press release that erroneously noted that Bishop Mary is retiring.  I’ve noticed that many of our congregations have reprinted this press release.  That in general, is fantastic; however, we do want to be accurate that Bishop Mary is NOT retiring.  She will, indeed, end her call as our synod bishop on June 30; however, she has accepted a new call as Senior Pastor at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in North St. Paul, allowing her to continue to serve in this church that she loves, but also to live in the same place as her family.  If you intend to keep the reprint on your website/and/or newsletters, please make this edit and please keep Bishop Mary in your prayers during this time of transition for her and her husband, John, and their family.  Thank you!

Statement on Family Separation issued by ELCA Presiding Bishop & Faith Leaders

The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), has convened ELCA ecumenical and inter-religious partners in a statement addressing concerns over a recent U.S. government policy calling for more stringent enforcement of federal immigration laws. The policy will most likely result in an increase in family separations.

The letter follows:

Recently, the Administration announced that it will begin separating families and criminally prosecuting all people who enter the U.S. without previous authorization. As religious leaders representing diverse faith perspectives, united in our concern for the wellbeing of vulnerable migrants who cross our borders fleeing from danger and threats to their lives, we are deeply disappointed and pained to hear this news.

We affirm the family as a foundational societal structure to support human community and understand the household as an estate blessed by God. The security of the family provides critical mental, physical and emotional support to the development and wellbeing of children. Our congregations and agencies serve many migrant families that have recently arrived in the United States. Leaving their communities is often the only option they have to provide safety for their children and protect them from harm. Tearing children away from parents who have made a dangerous journey to provide a safe and sufficient life for them is unnecessarily cruel and detrimental to the well-being of parents and children.

As we continue to serve and love our neighbor, we pray for the children and families that will suffer due to this policy and urge the Administration to stop their policy of separating families.

For the list of leaders who signed the letter, see:

Crossways is Hiring Summer Staff!

At this point, Crossways is still in need of several key staff members, particularly male cabin leaders.

“Palestine: Unlimited” Photo Exhibit

May 20 – June 15
Prize-winning photos from Dar al-Kalima University College of Arts & Culture
The photos, reflecting Palestinians view of their culture and way of life, will be on display at five Madison-area churches. The display is open to the public daily during regular hours of the each church.

Palestine is contested land. People everywhere watch Palestine, expectantly. Many share stories, images, interpretations and explanations, hoping to build a clearer picture of Palestine. But do Palestinians themselves get to say what Palestine is about? The exhibition is derived from a signature initiative of the Dar Al Kalima University College of Arts and Culture, a Lutheran institution of higher learning in Bethlehem. The exhibit, featuring the ten finalists from the Karimeh Abboud Award Competition – named for a pioneering 20th century Palestinian female photographer – helps us break through icons and stereotypes, in order to experience Palestine as it really is. Listen to the words of photographer Ala’a Abu Salem: “These portraits aim at representing the Palestinian away from any ties, connections or expectations with themes and specific subjects. In short, it is an attempt to break the stereotype and overused image of the Palestinian person.”

Visit each church to see the entire 24 piece exhibit (call for hours):

Midvale Community Lutheran Church, 4329 Tokay Blvd., Madison (608) 238-7119
Christ the Solid Rock Baptist Church, 1502 Parkside Dr., Madison (608) 241-9796
First Congregational Church, 1609 University Ave., Madison (608) 233-9751
Memorial United Church of Christ, 5705 Lacy Rd., Fitchburg (608) 273-1008
Lutheran Church of the Living Christ, 110 N. Gammon Rd., Madison (608) 829-2136

The exhibit is sponsored by Bright Stars of Bethlehem, a 501c3 organization supporting the work of Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb and the Dar al Kalima University College in Bethlehem.